If she is telling the truth…

Another one.

A rich, powerful, mover and shaker.

A young girl. Lots of them, it turns out.

Each one of them is an image-bearer of God, used to satiate the lusts of another rich wolf.

Not only does she have to bear the scars of unspeakable trauma, she now has to hear the attacks and slanders on her name.

(Have you heard the one about the 9 year old girl that was “overly sexualized” and “seduced” her rapist? Yeah. That was what he said. And they believed him.)

The powerful man – whether minister, representative, president, judge, father, husband – MUST be innocent. If powerful men are this wicked, what hope do any of us have? She, therefore, must be lying.

Why are we so quick to condemn the innocent and acquit the guilty? Why is our gut reaction always, “She’s lying”

“Why didn’t she tell someone?”

Why did she wait?

What was she wearing?

What was she drinking?

Because if she is telling the truth, we live in a different world than the one we want to live in.

If she is telling the truth, then God was right when he said, “Their mouth is an open sepulcher, there is none righteous. No, not one…” and that is hard to swallow.

If she is telling the truth, then the world is ugly and dangerous. But we want it to be safe, at least for people like us.

If she is telling the truth, then “weep and howl, you rich men, for the miseries that shall come upon you” and the judgment of God is terrifying.

But if she is lying, we can go back to the conferences. If she is lying, we can vote for the guy again. He’s so good for our side. We can go on like we always do.

If she is lying, we can shake our heads sorrowfully and go back to the football game.

If she is lying, then our people are still OK and as long as we stay away from those others, we can be safe and happy and blissfully unaware of her hurt and pain and trauma. Our boat stays secure.

As long as she plays the part right. Submit. Keep quiet. Don’t rock the boat. And everything stays the same.

But God sees it. He warns us. It is very, very easy to believe the rich and powerful and influential. We want our heroes sparkling clean, so it is easy to believe that she is lying.

When one is without power, there is no gain in believing her. And if you do believe her, your world will turn upside down.

People will ask, “What happened to you?”

What happened was that I believed her. And my world turned upside down.

I believed her, and I was right. He did it. And the world is upside down. The only hope is the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

We need a resurrection, because death and destruction and hatred and ugliness is very, very real.

God sees it all. And he warns us about believing those from whom we can gain, and dismissing those who cannot profit us.

22 “You shall not afflict any widow or orphan.

23 “If you afflict him at all, and if he does cry out to Me, I will surely hear his cry;

24 and My anger will be kindled, and I will kill you with the sword; and your wives shall become widows and your children fatherless.

(Exod. 22:22-24)

9 Comments

Filed under Abuse, Grief

9 responses to “If she is telling the truth…

  1. Yes, Jesus, You know..we speak and live in You by Your great mercy and love..We hope in Y.o.u.
    (Btw..thank you for writing..always thank you!!)

  2. Thank you for writing.

  3. Bunkababy

    This made me think about something. I had a very beloved youth pastor. He was passionate about youth. He alone drew hundreds of other youth to our group. Much to the dismay of other local youth pastors.

    I first knew him at 10 maybe 11. I was his regular babysitter all through 11 years old to 18 ish. At 19 I lived with he and his wife for about 4 months. He walked me down the aisle at my wedding. Shortly after that he moved away.

    Around 28 years old I started crazy intensive therapy and I kid you not spent the next 4 years in therapy with my abusers threatening me by any means possible. It is such a crazy story people wouldn’t believe it.

    During this terrifying time I sent a letter to my old youth pastor. He invited my family down for a weekend visit. He and my husband went out on an errand. During this time he disclosed to my husband that he and my husbands friend who was a youth intern with him had thought I was being sexually abused. Which I was, but had never ever said a peep to anyone.

    They had a meeting with my single mother and shared their observations and concerns. My mum went crazy and said damn rights I was and threatened them both with losing their jobs. They never said anything again. Until this conversation with my husband in the car. He never even told me when they got back. It wasn’t until we were going home my husband told me.

    All these years I defended his actions. My mother was a very scary woman you did not cross.

    Until I read this. He couldn’t even tell me himself. I think he told my husband not to tell me.
    I know in grade 11 and 12 he help dissuade my mother from sending me off to live elsewhere. (She hated my best friend and wanted me gone so she could not enlighten me on normal teen life. My best friend taught me to question things and not blindly obey like a robot like being 5 minutes late for curfew) my friend terrified me and thrilled me. Anyhow it was the youth pastor who would talk my mum out of not sending me away and telling her I was a really good kid.

    I always thought he saved me. I spent years feeling guilty about his interactions with my mother and him trying to take her down a level of hysteria. He told her most parents would love a kid like me.
    I always felt like a burden to him.

    Why would he tell my husband that? Why would he not tell me? How could he knowingly not do anything? My single mother admitted it! She admitted it was currently happening In grade 11 and 12. Why did he not call the ministry or the police?

    Grade 11 was a horrible year of abuse. I was actually impregnated. Is that why they thought I was abused? I have so many questions. How could you turn your back on a kid you had known since she was 10? How could he walk me down the aisle? Why didn’t he tell me to my face?

    I don’t expect anyone to know the answer but it has made me look at the situation differently. It has made me look at him differently. Until about 5 yrs ago I used to read his newsletters on how he saved this kid or that kid from the streets or drugs or abuse. I always thought he saved me. Maybe he didn’t. I am certainly not a jealous person but through the years especially those really, really, bad early years of therapy when we went to visit, I felt this gnawing sense of betrayal. I certainly felt abandoned by him. And when we got home we never talked again. And deep, deep,down I felt jealous of the new prodigies he saved.
    Bunkababy

    • Anu Riley

      Hi I hope it’s okay to reply, carefully and cautiously since you shared a very private and personal story. I don’t want to (even with good intentions) say anything that might cause you more pain. I’m trusting Pastor to know if this comment is okay to publish. A lot of what you said resonated with me even though my own experiences are not as traumatic as yours.

      I once watched a show about con artists (not saying this youth pastor is a con artist; bear with me). They said that such persons maliciously con their victims out of the most precious thing they have to give: their trust.

      Con artists can and do form strong relational bonds with their victims in order to abuse their trust and maximize their gains—whether it be money or power (or both). The betrayal aspect is particularly heinous, when you factor in that aspect.

      I saw a movie years ago where a father did not care about his own daughter being sexually assaulted. I don’t know if he didn’t BELIEVE her. He simply didn’t care: he was a career military man and that he what he cared about the most. His daughter was following in his footsteps and she was victimized by her classmates while in military school. I think she at first trusted him to support her, but when he asked her to “forget” about it, she stayed silent. Continuing to trust him, even as he gave horrible advice that clearly broke that trust? Possibly.

      The main character of the movie (investigating her death years later) asked something I’ll never forget: what could possibly be worse than rape?

      He answered that question at the end: Betrayal.

      I once trusted a church authority figure along the lines of your testimony (not as serious, but still significant) I felt betrayed by him as well. Why are the ones who are supposed to protect us, are so often the very ones we often need protecting from? The ones we are supposed to trust instead give us every reason NOT to. When that person from my past gave me horrible advice, I knew it was horrible but I trusted him. Not out of faith that the Lord was guiding him, but out of FEAR of the man himself. I wonder if that fictional daughter felt the same way.

      Affection and attention are two things that mean so much to us. Right before I read your comment, I remembered how Jesus was betrayed by Judas with a hug and a kiss and using a title (Teacher, Rabbi) that indicates a strong relational bond. I highly doubt the Lord felt loved, knowing the true intents of his words and actions. Judas weaponized closeness in order to betray Him. Ever felt like someone wrapped their arms around you in order to stab you in the back? Or used relational bonds in order to hurt you?

      When I struggle with the trauma of being betrayed, I try my hardest to recall the Lord’s betrayal. I don’t think it’s coincidental that He was betrayed by one of His own.

      The abandonment factor is just as relevant. Betrayed by one, then betrayed AND abandoned by the REST of His disciples.

      When I read your story I too wondered why they didn’t go to the police. When your mom threatened their jobs, I thought that might by why. Pastors usually get paid by their churches, but may also raise financial support as individuals. OR, I wondered they thought (or convinced themselves) that the police could not help without parental support.

      But what’s amazing is how they correctly picked up on so many red flags that you were being harmed (which in itself is extraordinary since you gave no indication of it), but it ended so tragically. I also cannot understand why he tried to hide this from you personally. Never talked to you at the time or years later, and what’s up with talking to your spouse about it?

      This person from my past was pretty instrumental both personally and spiritually. I never felt like he “saved” my soul, but sometimes the lines get blurry without realizing it. I told myself that the Lord is my Defender, not him. However, he was in a position of power. That doesn’t make him Christ Himself; that DOES make him accountable to the Lord Himself.

      I get that pastors and parents are not all powerful. They’re not supposed to be seen and treated as such. BUT, they do have a measure of power that means something. They can exert that power, within proper limits, that can and does protect and preserve humanity.

      That pastor did not shed his own blood in order to reconcile us to the Lord, but the Word says He did give us the ministry of reconciliation. So we have no real power to save souls for eternity, but we CAN point those souls to the One who can and does.

      BUT, that pastor had the power to save you (and potentially other victims) from further suffering that weighed down your already burdened soul. Abuse, the longer it goes on, only pushes its victims deeper and deeper into darkness.

      Matthew 23, however, gives me a LOT to chew on: “You shut the door of the kingdom of heaven in people’s faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to….You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when you have succeeded, you make them twice as much a child of hell as you are.”

      These words DO indicate our choices create strong, serious impact, for this life AND the next one. When experiencing betrayal by those of biological and/or spiritual birth, they have both drawn me to Him and drove me away from Him. That is not to put the ENTIRE blame squarely on the betrayers for the latter. But it’s fair to say that their actions created and caused me serious pain, and no doubt scars that will never quite heal. Not until I am free of this life, and safe in His arms in the next one.

      I will be praying for you and I thank you again for sharing such a powerful and personal testimony.

  4. Anony

    “God sees it all. And he warns us about believing those from whom we can gain, and dismissing those who cannot profit us.”

    It’s either profit or harm. Silver or lead. Carrot or stick. I suspect people don’t believe or support victims because not only does it threaten their worldview, but it also represents a threat to themselves. Believers and supporters of victims get targeted for harm, if not bought off or persuaded and manipulated to put their heads into the sand and let things be as the abuser wants them.

    Off-topic, been reading about incarcerated women and their abuse and violation at male correction officers’ hands. Rape, sexual abuse, perversions, humiliation, deprivation, harassment, intimidation, beatings, falsified medical reports (the system works as one and nurses will falsify to hide COs misconduct).

    Now, in California, as well as Washington State, male prisoners who decide to identify as women in order to transfer into women’s prisons, are being facilitated in this. Upon arrival, a man raped a woman in a Washington State women’s prison. Imagine being locked into a small cell with a rapist whose penis and testicles are fully intact, possibly a beard, and a violent, predatory criminal history.

    In Canada, due to a “self-identity” bill being passed, any man can claim to be a woman and must be transferred into women’s prisons. No need to shave the beard, or take estrogen, or even to have ever claimed to be a woman prior to prison, just say the magic words “I identify as a woman” and your transfer into a woman’s prison must be considered and almost invariably approved.

    News outlets don’t cover incarcerated women’s abuse because the prison system keeps it covered. Even if it does get out, it’s a rarity. So much more for the violations and predation of men who have claimed to be women to get placed in women’s prisons.

    Men’s predation, violence, and abuse of women and girls continues. It will never stop. It continues to get worse. Even 9 year old little girls struggle to get protection. Offenders and abusers always flip and twist things where they are the victims and their actual victims are the victimizers.

    Girls are even more at risk these days because of the proliferation of porn culture. When porn is everywhere and just a click away, the less sadistic porn quickly grows old and more demonic porn is demanded and what is more perverse than preying on a young child, a little girl? “Barely legal” and “jailbait” are old terms. But now, almost all males are using porn, and starting at younger ages, thus the consumption rates are through the roof. Child sexual abuse is skyrocketing. Even young boys are becoming sex offenders because they find a smaller, younger child and act out porn on them. I think it was a 10 year old boy who raped his younger sister who was 5 or something, because he wanted to try out the porn he consumed.

    Online porn has facilitated the pornographers’ creation of a porn culture. Speak to your kids. Speak to other adults and advocate for every adult becoming knowledgeable about child rape. Talk to your young children as the average age for a boy to start consuming porn is 10. So start talking and keep talking to kids and explain why porn is not sex education and explain why any grown man who has interest in them is not because of their supposed maturity or that they are star-crossed lovers, but because they are predators and your kids are the prey.

    More and more porn-sick men populate the world. So talk to your children. Again and again. Tell them the lines that men might use on them. Tell them their vulnerabilities and how such will be used against them. Educate them. Talk about sex with your kids so they don’t go to pornographers with their natural curiosity.

    • Such tremendous evil and injustice. Thank you for the comment

    • Bunkababy

      I can’t remember exactly what it was but there was a documentary on this subject. Parents of an 8 year old boy were seeking rehab help for his porn addiction.
      Children who are sexually abused act out their abuse. It is a psychological way to process what has been done.
      I cannot imagine viewing porn at at tender age is anything but traumatizing. They would then seek out an avenue to process it.
      Alas, I am not sure and totally guessing here but I don’t think it is getting worse per say. I think it been made more visual. As people are becoming aware of it. I mean were there not temples to rape children? Through the ages the populist of homeless waifs, being used and abused were always within an arms reach. And still are. They were throw away children used to satisfy the lusts of men.
      The depravity of child rape and sexual sin is not new I think the awareness of it is new.
      I can recall out of my neighborhood as a kid my friends being victims of sexual abuse at the tender age of 4-5 yrs old. My best friend 3 houses down was a victim. I have often wondered if the perp was my dad. But a lot of my neighbors were my perpetrators so that thought is kind of irrelevant. And within my parents friends / church group was plethora of abused kids. I knew them. I could give you names. I guess in my experience the amount of kids who I knew who were not victims of sexual abuse was less than those that were. And we were not poor. Rather my parents built their own home in a new upcoming neighborhood. Out of all our homes we purchased we were considered middle class to upper middle class. One neighborhood had 3 doctors within a few houses of mine. So it wasn’t a poverty problem.

      I grew up in a Bible Belt. One day my aforementioned friend and I decided to count churches on a particular road. We counted well above 35 churches.

      I can attest to it myself , sexual depravity preyed upon children destroys the most innermost identity of its victims almost to the point of no return.

      I think that is why it is such a powerful tool used by Satan. It’s a double edged sword. The predator gets power, control, and satiety for his lust. It will destroy him and his victims.

      There is nothing new under the sun.
      A few years ago I knew someone who did a study on sexual abuse. The highest ratio of sexual abuse in Canada coincided with the heaviest populated religious communities. At that time, the province of Manitoba, Canada had the highest rate of incest in Canada. And the highest numbers of Evangelical Mennonites in Canada. I also know of a woman who did her masters on domestic violence within the Mennonite denomination. It is very high.
      I think what is new is the fact that It is now in our conversations. Not hushed away anymore.

      I believe the cost of speaking up is what keeps people shut up.

  5. Bunkababy

    As a side note. My friend who lives in the town we grew up in sent me a blog to read. It’s specific purpose was for victims of sexual crime to voice their stories anonymously.
    I read stories of young women relaying being trafficked still by parents. Good ol, Christian people still trafficking their kids where I was, and where I grew up. One particular story a little girl was trafficked by her own father. He pocketed the money for himself. The wife had no idea. The girl even attended a private Christian school like myself.
    The only thing different to me is he acted alone.
    Churches are dangerous places. And in my opinion if we keep looking out there and not in our own pews nothing will change.

  6. Anu Riley

    Pastor is one of the best writers I’ve read because he doesn’t TELL us what to think, he encourages us to think as He does (and seek Him in order to accomplish such a weighty goal). It’s not as easy as it sounds. Being transformed by the renewing of our minds can often get confused with being transformed by how other Christians think. And their minds may or may not necessarily be reflecting the mind of Christ.

    I admit that I am often afraid to stand with and stand for His righteousness, which may very well include believing the testimonies of victims. It is fair to weigh the potential consequences BEFORE you say you believe them, because betrayal is serious business. You have no right to add to their already unspeakable suffering by claiming as such, but you didn’t really mean it. You were just trying to be “nice.”

    That being said, ever be faced with a loss of words when dueling testimonies have surrounded you? And you don’t know how to respond? You WANT to react properly, but you don’t know how to proceed. In that “fog” of fear and confusion, you may either capriciously pick the wrong side, or you deny that you even HAVE to pick a side in the first place.

    People are talking, asking questions like the ones Pastor listed out. You don’t like how they are talking, but you don’t know how to refute or answer their “logic.” Especially when everyone else seems to be united in their thinking. In the sincere desire to stay neutral or stay out of it completely, you’ve only made things worse.

    One potential avenue to consider is this: answer those questions WITH questions. I used to think that was a cop out; a way to dodge and deflect accountability. That can be true, but when properly used, it can actually expose fallacies and fictions.

    Let’s say she WAS drinking. What kind of a person victimizes a person who is so obviously NOT in state to offer informed consent?

    Let’s talk about her clothes: Where does the Bible indicate that how a person is (or isn’t) dressed means it is 100% valid to assume she is wordlessly “asking” for it?

    Let’s talk why she waited. Why does that even matter, exactly? A lot of victims are too traumatized to speak out right away. Why are you shaming her into a silence she may be attempting to break out of?

    Let’s talk about her credibility: What makes you assume she is lying? Yes, of COURSE that’s a possibility, but how did you come to that conclusion? What makes you so sure she is lying?

    A lack of evidence? The accused is innocent until proven guilty? Actually, her testimony IS evidence; it can and should be treated as such. As for guilt or innocence, shouldn’t the accuser be treated the same? You’ve speedily delivered a guilty verdict on her (bearing false witness) in the name of “fairness” for the accused.

    I know such questions can sound like entrapment; as if you are trying to embarrass them. But it’s not, if you are sincerely seeking the truth. And these are FAIR questions to ask. And by the way, such persons should already be embarrassed at themselves; being so narrow minded yet claiming to walk on the straight and narrow path.

    By the way, no professing Christian can dodge or deflect the 2nd commandment. The significance of how we treat others is undeniable; it matters what you see around you, and within you. I’m still working through the failures that I am responsible for, and how others have failed me. Pastor does a great job in admitting he doesn’t know everything, but he knows what matters. And how we treat each other matters: “God sees it all.”

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